Just when you thought that Tesla’s model/options fluctuations may have calmed down, it looks like the electric vehicle manufacturer announced yet another change to its vehicle lineup yesterday. And it seems like the Model 3 Standard did not make the cut.
Tesla has long promised to give its customers an affordable electric vehicle, with the $35,000 Model 3 Standard seemingly being a huge step in the right direction. Although initially launched a month ago, deliveries for this model have continuously been delayed, and in some cases it has been reported that Tesla attempted to upsell buyers to the more expensive Model 3 Standard Plus.
According to yesterday’s blog post, however, the Tesla Model 3 Standard is no longer an easily-obtainable option.
Tesla’s Model 3 Standard vs Model 3 Standard Plus
The official statement on the change is simply that the Standard Plus was just more popular than the Standard Model 3. Tesla decided that it would simplify production, reduce cost and complexity, and streamline operations to drop one in favor of the other. By their accounts, the Standard Plus sold at more than six times the rate of the humbler Standard.
But it is not completely gone. Tesla just removed it from their online ordering menu, so if a customer wants it, they will have to call Tesla directly or order it from one of their brick and mortar stores (at least for the time being). Those who have already ordered the Model 3 can expect to see it delivered starting as soon as this weekend.
The same goes for the Model 3 Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive: this feature is no longer available outside of calling or via a Tesla store. Apparently it did not sell well enough to be left as a regular option.
Now the Tesla Model 3 Standard is little more than a software-limited version of the Standard Plus. Its range will be cut by 10%, and features such as onboard music streaming, navigation with live traffic visualization, and heated seats will be disabled via software. This means that a customer will be able to pay to upgrade to the Standard Plus at any time, should they wish to do so.
Tesla Autopilot Now A Standard Feature
Another excuse behind the change was that Tesla wished to include Autopilot as a standard feature instead of an add-on. “All Tesla vehicles now come with Autopilot bundled as a standard feature for less than the prior cost of the option. For example, Model 3 Standard Plus used to cost $37,500, plus $3,000 for the Autopilot option. It now costs $39,500, with Autopilot included,” they posted on their blog.
It seems like that might also apply for all of their other vehicles as well. So now Autopilot will cost less for customers than it did as a solely optional feature, but they will still be paying for it.
No More Purchasing Your Tesla Model 3 At the End of the Lease
Another announcement made in the blog post was a change to Tesla’s leasing program. Prior to Thursday, a Tesla customer could buy their vehicle at the end of the lease. But Tesla’s decision to enter the ride-hailing business means that they will no longer offer this option, in favor of repossessing the leased vehicles to be used in their fleet.
It is a bit disappointing to be hit with this news after Tesla made so much noise about offering an affordable electric car. In some ways it could be likened to a cheap bait-and-switch tactic, convincing customers to purchase something that does not live up to expectations without another costly upgrade. This sort of behavior really does not do anything positive for a company’s image, and Tesla could stand to remember that.